UNDEVELOPED SEASHORE AREA IN CALIFORNIA (South Central Portion)
LOCATION: Twenty-eight miles south of San Francisco and one mile west of Half Moon Bay.
ACCESSIBILITY: By several paved and unimproved spur roads from State Highway 1.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: The area extends from Princeton south to Miramontes Point for a distance of five and one-half miles. The entire shoreline is an unusually clean, wide and attractive sandy beach. Along the northern portion of the beach are low sand dunes which are partially stabilized with beach grass and other ground covers, while along the southern 2 miles of beach is a low 10-15 foot coastal bluff. Inland the terrain is relatively level.
PRESENT USE: Agriculture prevails on the upland, although private residences are sparsely distributed in the northern portion. Of the 5-1/2 miles of shoreline, 1.3 miles are either state or county owned.
ANALYSIS: The accessibility, adaptability and close proximity of this area to San Francisco warrants its acquisition for public recreation purposes. At the present time, it is the intention of the State to acquire 1-1/2 miles of the remaining 4 miles of private property.
Tunitas to Pigeon Point
LOCATION: Forty miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles north of Santa Cruz. Cruz.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 is parallel and adjacent to the area.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This area includes 12-1/2 miles of ocean shoreline, extending from Tunitas Creek south to Pigeon Point. Six miles consist of clean, tan-colored, wide sandy recreation beach, the majority being along the northern portion of the area. Adjacent to the beaches are coastal bluffs varying in height from 25 to 125 feet. The southern six-mile section of the shoreline is mainly a relatively rugged coast with many reefs, offshore rocks, sea caves and isolated coves. Low tides along this southern section expose a multitude of excellent tidepools containing a wonderful display of marine life. Also, because of these geologic formations the surf display is outstanding, especially following a winter storm.
PRESENT USE: The majority of the area is utilized for agriculture, although there are a few widely scattered private residences along the highway. Four of the 12-1/2 miles of shoreline are either state or county lands. A U. S. Coast Guard light station is located on Pigeon Point.
ANALYSIS: This is a potentially valuable public seashore area as it possesses scenic, recreation and biological values in close proximity to a center of population. It should be acquired for public recreation and conservation of the natural resources. The State Division of Beaches and Parks plans to acquire 3-1/2 miles of the remaining 8 miles of private lands in the future.
LOCATION: Six miles north of the Santa Cruz-San Mateo County line.
ACCESSIBILITY: By automobile via State Highway 1. The highway passes within one mile of the area.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: A two-mile length of shoreline which includes Franklin Point. North of Franklin Point, on the windward side, is a fine clean wide sandy beach of about one mile in length. The leeward side is a low coastal bluff with many offshore rocks, reefs, and sea caves. Sand dunes from 10 to 15 feet high are prevalent on and around Franklin Point. Inland, they are terminated by a quarter-mile band of chaparral. Many of the dunes are partially stabilized with beach grass and other ground covers. Between the chaparral and Highway 1 there is adequate relatively level grassland for parking of trailers and automobiles.
PRESENT USE: The grassland is being utilized for the grazing of livestock, while the dunes and beach are used to a limited extent for recreation on a charged admission basis.
ANALYSIS: This area is most desirable for public ownership and use because of its fine beach, interesting dunes, offshore rocks, reefs, level terrain, adaptability and close proximity to San Francisco.
LOCATION: Immediately south of the San Mateo-Santa Cruz County line, and 20 miles north of the City of Santa Cruz.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 traverses the mouth of Waddell Canyon.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: The area comprises two miles of seashore, most of which is composed of attractive wide sandy beaches with a few offshore rocks. The mouth of Waddell Creek and Canyon is within this two miles of shoreline. Virgin redwood and Douglas fir forest, together with some cut over land, predominate in the six miles of undeveloped canyon along Waddell Creek. Stands of Monterey and knobcone pine also exist in the area. A wide level meadow in conjunction with an attractive lagoon and wide beach, near the terminus of Waddell Creek, adds to the biological and recreation potentialities of the area.
PRESENT USE: A turkey ranch predominates in the meadow while the upper canyon is used for logging and is largely undeveloped.
ANALYSIS: This undeveloped section of the Pacific Coast has excellent scenic, biological, and recreation values. These features, together with its close proximity to San Francisco and other centers of population, make the area of outstanding importance and one that should be acquired and preserved for appropriate public use. The State Division of Beaches and Parks plans to acquire the canyon as a corridor to connect the present Big Basin Redwood State Park and the ocean.
Rio Del Mar Beach
LOCATION: Approximately seven miles east of Santa Cruz.
ACCESSIBILITY: By automobile via State Highway 1 and local hard surfaced roads to the area. Accessibility to the shore is limited to foot travel.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This is an attractive curving recreation beach about two and one-half miles long. The clean, level 200-250 foot wide sandy beach is terminated inland by a 50-100 foot coastal bluff upon which is a Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way and track. Along the southeastern end of the area, the foreshore has a steep gradient and is excellent for fishing. Along the northwestern end of the area, the foreshore has a much more gentle slope, with considerably more surf and is more conducive to swimming.
PRESENT USE: This undeveloped beach area is used for private recreation purposes and is posted to prevent public access.
ANALYSIS: This excellent sandy beach is located in the Monterey Bay area, which is normally associated with seashore recreation. Existing facilities are greatly overcrowded throughout this general area. Public acquisition of this beach would help relieve the present congested condition, particularly at the State and county parks in the vicinity. A portion of this beach is on the Five Year Master Plan of the Division of Beaches and Parks as an addition to an existing public beach to the north.
LOCATION: Four and one-half miles southwest of Watsonville at the mouth of the Pajaro River.
ACCESSIBILITY: By hard surfaced and graded roads from Watsonville and State Highway 1.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This is an interesting and accessible seashore area having a fine wide sandy recreation beach about two miles in length. Ten to 15-foot sand dunes line the beach along all but a small portion of the 2 miles. Northwest from the mouth of the Pajaro River, and in close proximity to the beach, is a eucalyptus grove of several acres that is protected from the prevailing winds by high, stabilized sand dunes. Also, within the area, and in the immediate vicinity of the Pajaro River, is a small thick growth of pine. At the north end and adjacent to the area is the existing, heavily used Sunset Beach State Park.
PRESENT USE: Within the area or immediately adjacent to it, is a relatively small radio transmitting station, one privately developed beach recreation area and a little used auto race track.
ANALYSIS: It is important that this area be considered for public ownership to help relieve the terrific demand by the public for seashore recreation resources of this type. The State Division of Beaches and Parks anticipates acquiring this beach as an addition to the existing State Park.
LOCATION: The area is immediately north of the City of Moss Landing and ten miles southwest of Watsonville.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 crosses Elkhorn Slough but a short distance from the ocean. Direct automobile access to the beach is available from Highway 1.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: Moss Landing comprises one and four-tenths miles of wide, undeveloped recreation beach extending from Elkhorn Slough north to Zmudowski Beach State Park. Ten to 15-foot sand dunes line the beach for about 1 mile. In conjunction with the sandy beach is a large system of mudflats and salt marshes extending inland for several miles along Elkhorn Slough.
PRESENT USE: A privately developed small boat harbor and landing is located within the area. Also, a commercial salt extraction operation is being conducted on some of the mudflats.
ANALYSIS: This area presents an outstanding opportunity to preserve an extensive natural habitat for a multitude of shorebirds, water birds, and migratory waterfowl. This biological and scientific interest, in conjunction with a small but important recreation area, merits every consideration to be acquired and preserved for the welfare of the general public.
Salinas Dunes Beach
LOCATION: Twelve miles east of Salinas and 15 miles south of Watsonville.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 parallels the area approximately one mile to the east. The beach can be reached via dirt farm roads.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This is an eight-mile length of wide sandy beach and dunes. The beach is from 150-200 feet wide, and varies from light tan at the northern end to a brown or rust color at the southern terminus. Some ocean litter and debris which has accumulated along the shore detract from the scenic qualities. The dunes are relatively stabilized and vary in height from 10 to 60 feet. Marshes and ponds of limited size are found behind and adjacent to the dunes along the old Salinas River bed. The area is bisected by the mouth of the Salinas River.
PRESENT USE: The mining of sand has deteriorated the scenic quality of the dunes in several locations near the southern end of the area. But for one sand mining operation all of the beach is undeveloped. Agriculture prevails behind the sand dunes.
ANALYSIS: Salinas Dunes Beach is a potential area for surf fishing, clam digging, picnicking, and general seashore recreation and is in a location to serve a multitude of people. This is an important area, and should be given every consideration for public ownership. The State Division of Beaches and Parks plans to acquire the portion at the mouth of the Salinas River. Four miles of sandy beaches to the south are in an existing military reservation, and should be retained in public ownership as a possible addition to the area whenever surplus to military needs.
Soberanes Point Area
LOCATION: Six miles south of Carmel.
ACCESSIBILITY: Highway 1 is adjacent to the area for its entire length.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This area includes a six-mile length of unusually scenic shoreline, composed mainly of exposed rocks, reefs and generally rugged coast. The area extends from Malpaso Creek south to Rocky Point and includes one small sandy beach of six-tenths mile at the mouth of Doud Creek. Many opportunities for vistas and overlooks are distributed along the shoreline. These are complemented by several relatively flat areas. Low tides expose a multitude of excellent tidepools containing outstanding displays of marine life. Grassland and chaparral dominate the vegetation throughout the area.
PRESENT USE: The entire area is undeveloped. Several sections are utilized for the grazing of livestock.
ANALYSIS: Inherent values of the area provide excellent opportunity for the public to use and view a typical example of California's scenic rockbound shoreline. It is important that the area be considered in meeting the needs of the public for resources of this type and for the conservation of the natural resources.
LOCATION: Two miles north of Point Sur and 20 miles south of Monterey.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 traverses the Little Sur Canyon a short distance from the ocean shoreline.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: Situated at the terminus of the Little Sur River, this area includes a one-mile section of the ocean shoreline. The wide, attractive beach is composed of coarse, light-tan and reasonably clean sand, some of which is drifting into small dunes. The beach impounds a portion of the river water and creates an attractive lagoon. Also in connection with the shoreline is the primitive upper Little Stir Canyon, with its excellent forest of redwoods and mixed conifers. It is of great beauty and natural attractiveness. The lower canyon is wide and level, providing fine picnicking and camping areas on either side of the highway.
PRESENT USE: Most of the area is under large holdings and has very little development. Portions of the area are used for livestock grazing.
ANALYSIS: Little Sur possesses the rare combination of wide ocean beach, river frontage, a fine lagoon and a spectacular redwood canyon. All of these could be destroyed by commercial or improper development. The area should be acquired and placed in public ownership to preserve the excellent recreation potentialities and to conserve the natural values. The Little Stir Canyon is being considered for acquisition by the State Division of Beaches and Parks and is in the Five Year Master Plan.
LOCATION: Twenty-three miles south of Monterey and immediately southeast of Point Sur.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 parallels the area less than one-half mile to the east. There are no roads which lead directly to the seashore.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This is a shoreline area of approximately one mile, having a steep but attractive sandy beach and rocky foreshore with a scenic setting. An unusual asset to the area is a strip of Monterey cypress 500 feet wide, immediately inland and parallel to the beach. Between these trees and Highway 1 is a relatively flat grassland and chaparral area. A low coastal bluff, with small sand dunes, separates the beach and the wooded portion. Near the southern end of the area is a 200-foot promontory of rock and sand known as False Sur, so-called because of its similar appearance to Point Sur, a larger and more pronounced landmark one mile to the northwest.
PRESENT USE: The grassland is used for the grazing of livestock. Except for a U. S. Navy Oceanographic Research Laboratory adjacent to the area on the north end, the entire area is undeveloped.
ANALYSIS: This scenic section of the seashore, with picnicking and camping potentialities, is worthy of consideration for public ownership and use.
Lime Kiln Creek
LOCATION: Fifty-four miles south of Carmel.
ACCESSIBILITY: From State Highway 1, which traverses Lime Kiln Creek near the ocean.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: Fine stands of coastal redwoods, cascades and a 100-foot waterfall, all within a deep, precipitous, narrow heavily wooded canyon formed by the rushing Lime Kiln Creek and its two tributaries, give this area a scenic significance. It is reported that Lime Kiln Creek maintains a good flow of water throughout the year. A small but attractive pebble beach, terminated at either end by rock outcrops, adds individuality to the area. Historically, it has an old lime kiln and Rockland Landing where lime from the mountains beyond was loaded on to ships, circa 1870.
PRESENT USE: The area is undeveloped except for a few old abandoned cottages in the lower portion of the canyon.
ANALYSIS: Although relatively limited in size, the area is scenically significant and has many unusual recreation possibilities. It should be acquired and preserved for public use and conservation of the natural values. The area is presently on the State Division of Beaches and Parks Five Year Master Plan, although with a relatively low priority rating.
LOCATION: Thirteen miles north of San Simeon.
ACCESSIBILITY: Via State Highway 1.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: Ragged Point consists of a 100-foot high, level plateau jettying 1/2 mile out into the ocean. On each side of this promontory is a fine, wide sandy beach. One is at the mouth of San Carpoforo Creek just north of Ragged Point. Grass predominates on the point except for small patches of chaparral. Between the two beaches, the shoreline is rugged and rocky with many submerged and exposed offshore rocks. From Ragged Point north to Point Sur there are no comparable level areas with accessible beaches, as the terrain and coastline becomes unusually rugged for some 50 miles.
PRESENT USE: Livestock grazing is the only appreciable use presently made of the area.
ANALYSIS: This interesting and accessible promontory, along with its beaches, is easily adaptable for public recreation use. Its desirable location and potentialities warrant its consideration as a public recreation area.
LOCATION: One mile northwest of Cambria.
ACCESSIBILITY: The shoreline is accessible by automobile. Access to inland portions is limited to horseback and to a few jeep trails.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This section of the Pacific Coast is approximately ten miles long, with about 1-1/2 miles already in state park ownership. There are a few short sandy beaches, but the majority of the shoreline is composed of small coves, rocks and reefs producing many tidepools with spectacular surf and breakers. The wooded promontory known as San Simeon Point forms a natural protection from prevailing northwest winds for San Simeon Bay. Large stands of Monterey pine occur a short distance from the shoreline and extend south to Cambria. There are a few low sand dunes one mile northwest of San Simeon Point. Adjacent to the ocean shoreline, and extending inland, is an unusually large, privately owned, undeveloped expanse of rolling grassland, chaparral and oak-covered slopes and ridges interspersed with sycamore-lined streams within the Santa Lucia Mountain Range.
PRESENT USE: Three residences are presently located on San Simeon Point. Northeast of the promontory, the small settlement of San Simeon has been established. Additional residences are sparsely distributed throughout some of the pine stands near Cambria. All of the remaining area is relatively undeveloped.
ANALYSIS: This extensive area has significant scenic and biological values. It is worthy of consideration for acquisition for appropriate public use and the presentation of the natural resources. A portion of the shoreline is included in the State Division of Beaches and Parks long range plan for acquisition, but with a low priority.
Point Buchon Area
LOCATION: Two miles west of Avila and three miles southwest of the City of Morro Bay.
ACCESSIBILITY: By automobile on hard surfaced roads from State Highway 1 to both the northern and southern limits of the area. There are no roads into the area, but there are a few horse and jeep trails.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: Point Buchon is a 15-mile section of shoreline consisting mainly of exposed rocks, reefs, small coves, prominent points and overlooks. Many reefs and offshore rocks produce an outstanding display of breakers and surf. This rugged and virtually untouched shoreline has an abundance of marine life in its many tidepools and other marine ecological formations. The northern end of the area has several large eucalyptus groves which are suitable for the development of overnight camp sites. Also at the northern end of the area, near Morro Bay, are several sand dunes 50-75 feet high. In general, a low coastal bluff up to 50 feet in height lines the shoreline. At the top of the bluff is a flat bench, terminating inland into a steep precipitous 1,000 foot mountain.
PRESENT USE: All the area is undeveloped at present, and is utilized for the grazing of livestock.
ANALYSIS: This large, unspoiled area possesses excellent seashore values and should be acquired for public recreation and conservation of its natural resources.
Santa Maria Dunes Area
LOCATION: Three miles south of Pismo Beach and 12 miles west of Santa Maria.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 parallels the shoreline 2 to 4 miles inland.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: This sand dune area is unexcelled, both in scenic quality and in extent, by any similar area on the California Coast. It comprises approximately 12 miles of the ocean shoreline, of which the State has acquired 2-1/2 miles near the northern end. The dunes have migrated inland a maximum distance of approximately two miles. These high, slowly migrating dunes are partially stabilized, although relatively large sections are totally free of vegetation. Inland and adjacent to the dunes are several small bodies of fresh water, the largest of which is Oso Flaco Lake, with approximately 130 acres. The beach that extends the entire 12 miles is unusually wide, particularly at low tide, because of a very gently sloping foreshore. Clam digging is a popular activity along this section of the coast.
PRESENT USE: The State Division of Beaches and Parks presently has jurisdiction of approximately two and one-half miles of the beach near the northern end of the area, although it includes a very limited amount of the dunes. A large portion is either leased or owned outright by oil companies. Of this, a relatively small portion is presently used for the actual drilling of oil.
ANALYSIS: Nowhere along the California coast do sand dunes of comparable scenic quality, extent and height occur. Further oil discoveries and drilling within the area might greatly limit public use, although certain agreements as to drilling locations would render much of it available for recreation. If additional oil prospecting proves to be futile or uneconomical, the remaining portion of the area should be acquired for public recreation purposes. Portions of the area are on the Division of Beaches and Parks long range acquisition program.
Vandenburg Air Force Base
LOCATION: Fifty miles west-northwest of Santa Barbara.
ACCESSIBILITY: State Highway 1 parallels the shoreline approximately ten miles inland. Two spur roads, one of which is State Highway 150, lead to the ocean from Highway 1.
DESCRIPTION OF AREA: The area has over 20 miles of ocean frontage of varied character, with combinations of wide sandy beaches, reefs, offshore rocks, coastal bluffs and sand dunes. The upland is mainly chaparral or grassland, although it has very distinctive flora of some 20 or 30 plant species which occur only here. Relatively large growths of Giant Coreopsis add to the scientific interest of the area.
PRESENT USE: All of the area is within the Vandenburg Air Force Base.
ANALYSIS: The area possesses many fine seashore values, and should be considered for public recreation and conservation of the scientific and natural values in the event it becomes surplus to military requirements.
Last Updated: 25-Jun-2007